Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card Review [2021]: Can You Earn Free Bitcoin?

Upgrade is offering a Bitcoin rewards card that allows you to earn free cryptocurrency on your spending. But is it right for you?
Last updated Aug 31, 2021 | By Miranda Marquit | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins

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When looking for a rewards credit card, it’s important to look for a rewards program you’re interested in, or one that you’ll actually use. One interesting new trend is cards that offer cryptocurrency rewards.

If you’re interested in buying Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies, a rewards credit card like the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card could be a good choice. This card is the latest offering from the fintech company Upgrade, which also offers personal loans.

Before you move forward, make sure this card fits your needs. Our Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card review can help you decide whether this is the right credit card for your financial goals.

Earn Bitcoin on Your Purchases

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 1.5% back in the form of Bitcoin

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn 1.5% back in the form of Bitcoin
  • Credit lines from $500 to $25,000
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

Drawbacks

  • Not available in every state
  • No welcome bonus
Card Details
  • Safe, fast contactless card technology you can use wherever Visa is accepted
  • 1.5% unlimited bitcoin rewards on all purchases when you pay them back

In this Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card review

Who should get the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card?

The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card is designed for those who aren’t sure how to buy Bitcoin, or who don’t want to go through the process of setting up a crypto wallet and purchasing the cryptocurrency on an exchange or some other way.

As a crypto credit card, the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa could be a good choice for cardholders who are interested in owning digital currency, but who don't want to risk their money and would rather have it in the form of rewards. Because Upgrade also offers some other financial services, such as personal loans, this card also has some interesting repayment features.

This card offers 1.5% unlimited bitcoin rewards on all purchases when you pay them back. Because of it, it can be fairly easy to rack up Bitcoin rewards over time. However, it’s important to note that redeeming your Bitcoin for cash back can take time, and you might not get as much as you expected because there’s a transaction fee associated with redemption. For those who want straightforward cash rewards that are easy to redeem, this card might not be the best choice.

Card basics

Card type Cash Back
Credit card issuer Sutton Bank
Credit card network Visa
Annual fee $0
Intro bonus Safe, fast contactless card technology you can use wherever Visa is accepted
Reward rate 1.5% unlimited bitcoin rewards on all purchases when you pay them back
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card benefits and perks

  • Crypto rewards for all purchases: You don’t have to worry about rotating categories or keeping track of purchases. This card earns a flat up to 1.5% back in the form of Bitcoin. You have the potential to see higher gains depending on the market and when you sell your Bitcoin for cash.
  • $0 annual fee: You don’t have to worry about an annual fee with this card, even if Bitcoin prices head higher.
  • Regular installments for repayment: Upgrade makes it easy to repay your balance in equal installments, which helps you pay off your card faster and reduce what you pay in interest compared with traditional credit card minimum payments and balances that are subject to variable interest rates. This credit card is actually a credit card-personal line of credit hybrid. That means your “draws,” or expenditures will feature a fixed rate and your monthly payments will be on a set installment plan.
  • Easy access to credit line: You can use your Upgrade Card to make purchases at stores or online, but you can also request money from your line of credit be transferred directly to your bank account.
  • Visa Signature Card benefits: When you get the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card, you have access to Visa Signature benefits such as extended warranty protection, roadside dispatch, identity monitoring, lost luggage reimbursement, trip cancellation insurance and more.

Drawbacks to this card

  • Not available in all states: The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card isn’t available in all states. If you live in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or the District of Columbia, you won’t be able to use this credit card.
  • Bitcoin holding period: When you make your first Bitcoin sale for redemption, there’s a 90-day holding period. On top of that, you pay a 1.5% transaction fee, which is deducted from your award, when you sell your Bitcoin. Bitcoin sales can also be redeemed only for statement credits against your card’s balance.
  • No welcome bonus: Upgrade doesn’t offer a welcome bonus for the Bitcoin Rewards card, so you won’t receive anything extra when you sign up.

Earning and redeeming Bitcoin

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look how your Bitcoin can add up with the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card. These values are based on the cashback rate of this crypto credit card, but because you’re getting paid out in Bitcoin, the value of your rewards could vary greatly depending on market conditions and the timing of your Bitcoin sale.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $503

Year two earnings: $503

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which looks at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

It’s important to note that you earn a flat 1.5% back in Bitcoin for all spending categories. However, you don’t receive that 1.5% back when you make your purchases. Instead, you receive your rewards when you make your on-time payments. When you repay your purchases, you get the 1.5%, which is used to buy Bitcoin and held in custody for you until you decide to sell.

The main advantage to this reward is that your earnings could improve if the price of Bitcoin goes up over time. Keeping your Bitcoin in custody and waiting to redeem it until later could potentially lead to bigger returns, as long as Bitcoin increases in price.

Categories Rewards rate
All purchases when you pay them back 1.5%

Maximizing your redemptions

Your best bet in redemptions is to hold onto your Bitcoin until the price increases. However, you might not see the level of redemption you expect if Bitcoin actually falls in price.

It’s important to note that your first Bitcoin redemption comes with a 90-day holding period, so you’ll have to wait to receive your cash. On top of that, you can redeem your sold Bitcoin for a statement credit. As a result, it’s usually best for redemption if you have purchases on your card that you can pay off when you sell your Bitcoin.

Finally, be aware that there’s a 1.5% transaction fee whenever you sell your Bitcoin to redeem for statement credit. This is deducted from your award amount.

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card FAQs

What other cards offer bitcoin rewards?

Although Upgrade claims to be the first generally available Bitcoin rewards card, there are other credit cards available that allow you to earn cryptocurrency rewards. BlockFi offers a Bitcoin rewards card that also provides 1.5% cash back in the form of crypto rewards, plus it also has a sign-up bonus. SoFi also offers a credit card that allows you to redeem rewards in cryptocurrencies. The SoFi credit card offers Bitcoin and Ethereum redemptions for earned reward points. Gemini has also stated it is offering a crypto credit card, but currently there is only a waitlist for interested Gemini Credit Card applicants.

Does the Bitcoin Rewards Card report to the credit bureaus?

You need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card, and Upgrade does report to the major credit bureaus.

Should I get an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card or a personal loan?

Whether you get an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards card or personal loan depends on your individual situation. The Upgrade credit card is kind of a hybrid credit card and personal loan product. Although it functions like a credit card, allowing you to make purchases, the payments are divided up in a way that’s similar to personal loans. If you’re interested in learning more about personal loan options, check out our Upgrade personal loan review.


Other cards to consider

If the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, there are other cards to consider if you’re looking for a simpler cashback card.

The Citi Double Cash is a Mastercard that offers up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. Plus, if you’re looking for a card to help you tackle debt, there’s a 0% APR on balance transfers for the 18 months. If you want more straightforward cash rewards with the ability to get cash in your account, not just as a statement credit, this can be a good choice.

For more details, read our Citi Double Cash Card review.

For those looking for tiered rewards based on their most-used categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited can make sense. This card offers 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. On top of that, there’s a generous welcome bonus: Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year). This card can be good for those who focus on categories and want more redemption choices.

For more details, read our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Earn Bitcoin on Your Purchases

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa

Special Offer

Safe, fast contactless card technology you can use wherever Visa is accepted

See how these cards compare:

Citi Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash Card
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k in your first year)
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases

Author Details

Miranda Marquit Miranda Marquit has been covering money for more than a decade and is a nationally-recognized financial expert and journalist, appearing on CNBC, NPR, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, FOX Business, and numerous other outlets.